I live in a town not all that different from Newtown, Connecticut. One of many suburbs of Manhattan where people move to for the good schools and tall trees. Where the keys can be left in the SUV’s and your neighbor will get your kid off the school bus if you’re running late. There are thousands of towns just like this, dotting the outskirts of every city across our country. Where things like this would “never happen”. But of course, amidst the overwhelming sadness of this unfathomable crime, we know now that it could.
Once again, the issue of gun control has been brought to the forefront. With twenty elementary school children dead, it has never been more front and center. It has been reported, the alleged shooter, Adam Lanza was in possession of three firearms. A Glock and Sig Sauer handguns, as well as a Bushmaster .223-caliber assault rifle . All of which were owned by his mother in the home where he lived with her.
The Bushmaster is a type of semi-automatic weapon that was first used by American troops during the Vietnam War and which can fire up to six bullets a second. According to firearms expert Ronald Scott, a former head of the Massachusetts State Police’s firearms lab, the rifles can be obtained relatively easily by “people with the legal right to buy them,” but said the weapons are designed for combat. “There’s really no other use for them,” Scott said to The NY Daily News.
In spite of what the NRA or it’s staunch supporters want you to believe, a survey conducted by CNN/ORC International in August shortly after the deadly theater mass shooting earlier this year in Aurora, Colorado, found that 76% of those surveyed believe “there should be some restrictions on owning guns.”
76% of Americans. I’d venture to say that number would be significantly higher if the survey was given today. The first major mass school killing I remember is Columbine. Since then there have been over 30 school shootings to date. It’s not too early, it’s too late to have this discussion.
The time has come as a country where we must finally put our foot down and insist on stricter gun control laws and a nationwide ban on automatic assault weapons. It’s time to discuss second amendment rights that were written by people who owned slaves and oppressed women centuries prior to the invention of the AK47. With all due respect, meaningful change is just not going to cut it. We need immediate action. We owe it to the thousands of innocent victims getting killed every year in these tragedies that are escalating in numbers and breadth. We owe it the parents of those little children in Newtown, Connecticut. We owe it to our children, too. If not, we will all have blood on our hands and I don’t know about you, but I can’t live with that.
There will always be mad men. There will always be crazed gunmen who will go on a rampage. Psychos, sociopaths,whatever you wish to call them but there will always be mentally ill people who commit horrific and senseless crimes. But, can’t we try and make it more difficult? For example, a handgun would kill far less people than a machine gun right? A strict licensing process would too, no? How about really stiff sentences and the repeal of antiquated laws and amendments that have no bearing on today’s society? Aren’t they worth discussing?
And to all those who keep saying “If only one of the teachers had a gun…” One did. She owned several, in fact. Her son used them to kill her, her colleagues and 20 children.
My six year old just ran into the room yelling that she lost her tooth. I’m holding back the tears.
Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Newtown, Connecticut.